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How to Become a Producer for Comedy Shows

by Nathan McGinty

If you've got a knack for making people laugh, becoming a producer for comedy shows is an excellent career choice. Comedy producers are responsible for overseeing and managing comedy shows, which can be prerecorded on videotape or digital media or shot live in front of an audience. But producing a comedy show isn't just about getting laughs; comedy producers have to be highly organized and ready to deal with crisis situations. As they say in show business, the show must go on.

Watch as much comedy as you possibly can. This includes live performances as well as TV comedies. This gives you an introduction into the genre and what types of comedy click with different audiences.

Move to a city where comedy shows are produced. Even in this age of digital communication and the Internet, being in such a city and meeting people in the industry will give you a big leg up over other budding producers. In the United States, New York and Los Angeles are major producers of comedy shows, while in the UK, London accounts for most shows.

Attend an accredited university and study either law, writing or TV and film production. Studying law gives you an excellent introduction to the field of entertainment representation, while taking writing classes will help you learn how to craft well-written stories. Learning TV and film production gives you the nuts and bolts of how to produce and make TV shows.

Take a position as an assistant or intern with a production company. The best time to do this is while you're attending a university, or shortly thereafter. Most of these jobs don't pay, but you'll get hands-on experience with how a comedy show is run and put together.

Attend comedy festivals, where professional and up-and-coming comedians ply their trade. Two of the biggest comedy festivals in the world are the Montreal Just for Laughs festival and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Keep track of who you meet, and gather as many business cards as you can.

Join the Producers Guild of America or another professional organization. Not only will this show that you're serious about your future career, but it also provides a good networking opportunity to meet other people in the business.

About the Author

Nathan McGinty started writing in 1995. He has a Bachelor of Science in communications from the University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Arts in international journalism from City University, London. He has worked in the technology industry for more than 20 years, in positions ranging from tech support to marketing.